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Old 08-17-2007, 07:38 PM   #1
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Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks to Record Low

Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks to Record Low
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
2 hours ago



WASHINGTON - There was less sea ice in the Arctic on Friday than ever before on record, and the melting is continuing, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported.

"Today is a historic day," said Mark Serreze, a senior research scientist at the center. "This is the least sea ice we've ever seen in the satellite record and we have another month left to go in the melt season this year."

Satellite measurements showed 2.02 million square miles of ice in the Arctic, falling below the Sept. 21, 2005, record minimum of 2.05 million square miles, the agency said.

Sea ice is particularly low in the East Siberian side of the Arctic and the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska, the center reported.

Ice in the Canadian Archipelago is also quite low. Along the Atlantic side of the Arctic Ocean, sea ice extent is not as unusually low, but there is still less than normal, according to the center located in Boulder, Colo.

The snow and ice center is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado. It receives support from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science Foundation.

Scientists began monitoring the extent of Arctic sea ice in the 1970s when satellite images became available.

The polar regions have long been of concern to climate specialists studying global warming because those regions are expected to feel the impact of climate change sooner and to a greater extent than other areas.

Sea ice in the Arctic helps keep those regions cool by reflecting sunlight that might be absorbed by darker land or ocean surfaces. Exposed to direct sun, for example, instead of reflecting 80 percent of the sunlight, the ocean absorbs 90 percent. That causes the ocean to heat up and raises Arctic temperatures.

Unusually clear sky conditions have prevailed in the Arctic in June and July, promoting more sunshine at the time when the sun is highest in the sky over the region.

The center said this led to an unusually high amount of solar energy being pumped onto the Arctic ice surface, accelerating the melting process. Fairly strong winds also brought in some warm air from the south.

But, Serreze said in a telephone interview, while some natural variability is involved in the melting "we simply can't explain everything through natural processes."

"It is very strong evidence that we are starting to see an effect of greenhouse warming," he said.

The puzzling thing, he said, is that the melting is actually occurring faster than computer climate models have predicted.

Several years ago he would have predicted a complete melt of Arctic sea ice in summer would occur by the year 2070 to 2100, Serreze said. But at the rates now occurring, a complete melt could happen by 2030, he said Friday.

There will still be ice in winter, he said, but it could be gone in summer.
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Old 08-17-2007, 07:45 PM   #2
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This is 'scary stuff' that's happening way too quickly.

I wonder about people who don't believe in 'Global Warming' ... would this change their minds ??
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Old 08-17-2007, 07:56 PM   #3
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Probably not. They're all far too stubborn.

Oh well, I better start building my boat.
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Old 08-17-2007, 08:13 PM   #4
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Exactly right !! Stubborn is the 'perfect' description.


You know, most researchers don't really 'make an outgoing issue' about Global Warming because they figure it won't affect them in their lifetime ... so, why worry about concerning others about what could happen in the distant future ?? Absolutely ridiculous !! As everyone keeps getting further 'reminders' that ... that 'distant future' is closer than we think.
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Old 08-17-2007, 10:21 PM   #5
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Oh hell yea the "distant future" is closer than we think. What about those of us with kids and/or grandkids? What about the futures of their worlds AND that of THEIR offspring? Everyone based solely on that should care and do their own part to contribute to anything and everything we can do to stop or delay Global Warming.
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Old 08-17-2007, 10:39 PM   #6
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I don't like to read this stuff.
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Old 08-17-2007, 11:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lancemc

Oh well, I better start building my boat.
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Old 08-18-2007, 12:06 AM   #8
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I don't like reading this stuff either. It really puzzles me that people can continue to live as they have been without concern for the environment. Many people seem to think nothing will change in their lifetime, or they want "proof" that global warming is happening. If what we are seeing now isn't proof, these people will probably only be convinced when we begin seeing mass devastation. Arrrgh, thinking about this makes me sad. People are so incredibly self-centred and short-sighted.
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Old 08-18-2007, 01:31 AM   #9
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The only reasonable solution to this problem is the most obvious...


Moon bases. Good thing that's happening in 20 years.
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Old 08-18-2007, 01:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by mystery girl
If what we are seeing now isn't proof, these people will probably only be convinced when we begin seeing mass devastation.
Yes, that's the undeniable truth.
But, by the time that 'devastation' became overly-massive, it would be entirely 'too late' to do anything further to 'make a difference'. Although, Global Warming cannot be completely stopped ... the actual 'growth process' of it can be hugely 'reduced' ... depending on how our resources are used. The time is now for scientists/researchers and environmentalists to keep explaining how 'cutting back' on the 'unnecessary use' of our resources can effectively continue the 'reduction' process, and keep Global Warming under better control.
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Old 08-20-2007, 02:05 PM   #11
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Am I the only one thinking even after all the glaciers melt and the sea level goes up all these idiots with hummers are going to trade them in for big-ass speed boats?
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Old 08-20-2007, 02:57 PM   #12
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Originally posted by elevated_u2_fan
Am I the only one thinking even after all the glaciers melt and the sea level goes up all these idiots with hummers are going to trade them in for big-ass speed boats?
Why get a speed boat ?? They will probably just build their OWN ark, instead.
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by mystery girl
I don't like reading this stuff either. It really puzzles me that people can continue to live as they have been without concern for the environment. Many people seem to think nothing will change in their lifetime, or they want "proof" that global warming is happening. If what we are seeing now isn't proof, these people will probably only be convinced when we begin seeing mass devastation. Arrrgh, thinking about this makes me sad. People are so incredibly self-centred and short-sighted.
I actually kinda meant I don't like reading about it because I want to live in ignorance about It was like the Bird Flu a few years that got really serious, or SARS, both of which went away.

If the whole world could agree on it and bloody do something about it I would be very happy. But it seems there is a fair splash of the population who cbf doing anything yet. There's a guy here in Oz, who won the Aussie of the Year Award last year. Dr Tim Flannery. He works in this field. And he told the prime minister he would give back his award if he did not act soon.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:17 PM   #14
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First, the Global Warming issues and concerns were discussed ... and now this further happens !!





Arctic Ice Melt Opens Northwest Passage
By JAMEY KEATEN, Associated Press Writer
2 hours ago


PARIS - Arctic ice has shrunk to the lowest level on record, new satellite images show, raising the possibility that the Northwest Passage that eluded famous explorers will become an open shipping lane.

The European Space Agency said nearly 200 satellite photos this month taken together showed an ice-free passage along northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland, and ice retreating to its lowest level since such images were first taken in 1978.

The waters are exposing unexplored resources, and vessels could trim thousands of miles from Europe to Asia by bypassing the Panama Canal. The seasonal ebb and flow of ice levels has already opened up a slim summer window for ships.

Leif Toudal Pedersen, of the Danish National Space Center, said that Arctic ice has shrunk to some 1 million square miles. The previous low was 1.5 million square miles, in 2005.

"The strong reduction in just one year certainly raises flags that the ice (in summer) may disappear much sooner than expected," Pedersen said in an ESA statement posted on its Web site Friday.

Pedersen said the extreme retreat this year suggested the passage could fully open sooner than expected _ but ESA did not say when that might be. Efforts to contact ESA officials in Paris and Noordwik, the Netherlands, were unsuccessful Saturday.

A U.N. panel on climate change has predicted that polar regions could be virtually free of ice by the summer of 2070 because of rising temperatures and sea ice decline, ESA noted.

Russia, Norway, Denmark, Canada and the United States are among countries in a race to secure rights to the Arctic that heated up last month when Russia sent two small submarines to plant its national flag under the North Pole. A U.S. study has suggested as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas could be hidden in the area.

Environmentalists fear increased maritime traffic and efforts to tap natural resources in the area could one day lead to oil spills and harm regional wildlife.

Until now, the passage has been expected to remain closed even during reduced ice cover by multiyear ice pack _ sea ice that remains through one or more summers, ESA said.

Researcher Claes Ragner of Norway's Fridtjof Nansen Institute, which works on Arctic environmental and political issues, said for now, the new opening has only symbolic meaning for the future of sea transport.

"Routes between Scandinavia and Japan could be almost halved, and a stable and reliable route would mean a lot to certain regions," he said by phone. But even if the passage is opening up and polar ice continues to melt, it will take years for such routes to be regular, he said.

"It won't be ice-free all year around and it won't be a stable route all year," Ragner said. "The greatest wish for sea transportation is streamlined and stable routes."

"Shorter transport routes means less pollution if you can ship products from A to B on the shortest route," he said, "but the fact that the polar ice is melting away is not good for the world in that we're losing the Arctic and the animal life there."

The opening observed this week was not the most direct waterway, ESA said. That would be through northern Canada along the coast of Siberia, which remains partially blocked.
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Old 09-15-2007, 07:56 PM   #15
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Yeah, there's a big dispute brewing between Canada and the US.

The whole passage is within our territorial waters, and naturally Canada wants sovereignty over it based on that fact. But the US claims that it's by definition an "international waterway" and that Canada can't restrict or prevent anybody from using it.

Basically the United States wants to bully Canada into letting ships that are too big for the Panama Canal pass through for free, while they hold an occupied piece of land in a foreign nation (Panama) and charge ridiculous tolls for passing through their canal.

Bastards.
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